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Safaricom ordered to open its M-Pesa platform

Kenya’s communications regulator Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) has ordered Safaricom to open its M-Pesa platform following a petition Airtel Kenya filed earlier this year accusing Safaricom of unfair competition.

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In a statement, Airtel said that the order brings to an end its extended battle with its rival mobile telecoms firm Safaricom over service exclusivity, which blocked M-Pesa agents from working with other mobile operators.

CAK signed a letter on July 25, 2014 and sent it to Airtel and Safaricom ordering Safaricom to effect the order before July 18.

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According to the letter, every restrictive clause in the agreements between mobile money transfer (M-Pesa agents) and Safaricom should be expunged instantly before July 18.

Earlier, Airtel CEO Adil El Youssefi said: “Safaricom needs to publicize and make official the decision to open up its network.”

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In its ruling, CAK also declared that Safaricom’s oversight would be limited to its business with the agents. Every mobile money service provider operating in Kenya would also be liable to ensuring compliance with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) regulations.

CAK director-general Wang’ombe Kariuki said that they did not rule on the cost and interoperability of transactions since it is an issue that requires CAK and CBK’s input.

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